Information for Teenagers

This information sheet provides an overview of the study and our obligations regarding data protection. We encourage teenagers and their parents/guardians to discuss the study together and decide whether or not, the young person would like to take part.

The survey is for teenagers (12-18 years). However, please note a parent/guardian will be asked to provide consent for your participation, if you wish to take part.

Part 1 – The Study

Who are we?

Dr. Caroline Heary works in the School of Psychology, at the National University of Ireland, Galway and Dr. Elizabeth Nixon & Dr. Lorraine Swords are at the School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin.

What is this study about?

We would like to understand how teenagers are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. We are interested in finding out how teenagers are coping with the ongoing restrictions and changes in their lives, what aspects they find most difficult and how they are feeling at the present time?

Why have I been asked to take part?

We are seeking teenagers (12-18 years) to take part in this study. In order to take part you need to (i) have the permission of your parent, (ii) be aged between 12-18 years, and (iii) be happy to answer our questions online.

Do I have to take part?

No, it is entirely up to you whether or not to take part. It is your choice.

What does taking part involve?

1. We are looking for teenagers to take part in an online survey. There are 3 surveys in total in the next 12 months (one now, one in 6 months and a final one in 12 months). In the survey, you will be asked a series of questions about how you have coped during the COVID-19 pandemic, how you have adapted to various changes in recent months, your outlook and levels of optimism and there will be some questions on recent feelings and behaviours. You will not be asked to put your name on the survey, so all of the information will be anonymous (nobody will know how you responded).

2. Parents’ permission is required in order for the young person to take part.

Can I change my mind?

Teenagers do not have to complete our survey unless they want to. Even if you start, you can change your mind up until the point that you submit the completed survey. After that we won’t be able to take your information out of the study, because we won’t know what survey is yours, as no names are included on the survey.

What will happen to the information?

The information provided by you and your parent will be used for a research report / publications. The survey information (which we call data) will be stored on a password-protected secure server in the National University of Ireland, Galway. The information you give us will be analysed by the members of our team in Trinity College and NUI, Galway. We might share the information with other researchers across the world, so that we can compare students in Ireland with students from other parts of the world, but again no names are ever included.

What are the risks associated with participating?

Some young people may find filling in the survey boring, or it might make them think about things that they don’t want to think about. You will be reminded that you do not have to answer any questions or provide any information you are not comfortable with, and that you can quit the study up until the time you submit the survey.

Will I get feedback about the study?

We will post our research findings on our study website, but if you would also like us to email you these findings you can indicate this on the consent form.

How will this research benefit me?

You will not benefit directly from taking part in this research project.

Our world has changed a lot in recent times and we are facing many new challenges. While there has been much discussion about how this pandemic is affecting young people, we are keen to engage with teenagers and involve them directly in research to understand what has helped young people cope; what aspects have they found most difficult; and how it has affected them (feelings and behaviours).

Part 2 – Data Protection

What information about me (personal data) will be used as part of this study?

For this study, the only personal data that we gather is your name on the consent form and your email address to help us contact you for the next survey in six months time. We will keep all records for seven years in National University of Ireland, Galway in line with our legal obligations. We will never be able to link your survey with your consent forms. So all of your information provided in the survey will be anonymous.

Has this study been approved by a research ethics committee?

This study has been approved by National University of Ireland, Galway, Research Ethics Committee. Approval was granted on June 18th, 2020.

Part 3 - Further Information

Who should I contact for information or complaints?

If you have any concerns or require any further information, please get in touch with Dr. Caroline Heary (, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway.

If you have any concerns about this study and wish to contact someone independent and in confidence, you may contact ‘the Chairperson of the NUI Galway Research Ethics Committee, c/o Office of the Vice President for Research, NUI Galway,

What should I do now?

If you and your parent/guardian are happy for you to take part in the study:

· One of your parents/guardians can provide consent and provide your contact details. This is the link for parents:

· Once a parent provides consent, an assent form (permission form) and a copy of the survey is sent to the email of the young person and the young person is asked to agree (or not) to take part in the survey.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our study.

If you are interested in taking part in our study, the next step is to get parental consent. Once parental consent is received, a link to the adolescent permission / agreement form is sent to you via email and a link to the survey. Here is the link for your parent: Parent Consent Form